Teaching with Italki has been an incredible adventure with many unique stories of students who, for different motivations, decided to learn Italian from scratch or to improve their level. Each of this success stories is very dear to me but one is particularly meaningful and worth being shared.
My 27 yr Russian student was a level A1 when she started and used to go for Sunday breakfast in Moscow with a friend whose father would teach them a little Italian while sipping coffee and eating toasts ! But Irina had already a great goal : she was passionate and so enthusiastic about Italy and she wanted to visit it over and over, being able to speak with Italians and who knows maybe one day change her life and eventually study in my country .
When she contacted me , we decided to take a lesson a week, sometimes from home and often from her favourite cafe’ before going to work where in spite of noise and crowd she still kept her focus and concentration. I would always give her homework to revise what we did together.
We started with grammar and vocabulary empowerment through dialogues, role plays, grammar exercises and focusing the challenges which she would encounter coming from a language like Russian.
I noticed that Russian presented a pretty complex grammar that’s why she was already used to face the unavoidable issues and difficulties of Italian grammar. I preferred using different kind of material with her rather than following a textbook as she seemed to learn better and quicker with a less structured method. I also insisted on accent and tonality especially on vowels which in Russian are pronounced differently so to let her acquire a better Italian pronunciation .
Songs, short videos, short stories, easy articles about her favourite Italian topics, daily practical situation dialogues were the tools which helped her getting a solid base of the language and also lots of written exercises she would do alone or we would do together during the class.
In the meantime her love and passion for Italy grew fonder and I am very proud to say that this autumn she has been admitted to one of Milano’s top universities for a post graduate program! Her classes will be all in Italian and she will be perfectly able to follow them! Her dream will be fulfilled and I am so proud of her tenacious attitude in keep going through these years of studying Italian .When she tells me it’s thanks to my help, I answer her the result of a language success story is always fifty- fifty. You need a good teacher and also a dedicated student willing to follow in order for it to work and give a great result!
From Silvia (https://www.italki.com/teacher/3445855)
Such great stories. And your last line is sooo true. Motivation comes from within and only has so much (limited) external influence. We can only try our best to motivate students.
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